The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

All is Fair in Arts and Crafts

Austin Creative Markets Exhibit Local Artists’ Work
Katie Busby
ART IN MOVEMENT | Fashion creators display their works in Austin Studio Tour. This display of craft took place Nov. 4-19 of 2023, allowing designers to show off their own form of art.

Thriving art communities, markets, craft fairs, and pop-up shops can be seen in many places around the Austin area. Shopping opportunities like these allow customers to personally engage with artists and buy one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items. These markets provide sellers with important opportunities to showcase their work and gain more business.

Dawn Ciranna, the creator of Next Chapter Books + Bookmobile, used her background as an English teacher to spread her love of literature through her mobile second-hand book store. Since her start in July 2022, local markets have been an important way for her to meet with her clientele. 

“In Leander, I noticed we didn’t have an independent bookstore and I thought ‘I’m going to start one,’” Ciranna said. “Some of my favorite places are these family-friendly breweries in Central and North Austin. Those have been really interesting and fun because not only do I sell to the customers but also to the employees like all of the servers and bartenders.”

Relationships that she’s developed through fairs help support her business. While the outcome of the markets is worth it to Ciranna and her customers, the work leading up to the market takes preparation.

“Figuring out how many crates to take and how many books I’ll sell is important and if it’s indoor or outdoor,” Ciranna said. “If it’s outdoors I need a tent and power to make sure books are safe from rain.” 

LOCAL ART GALORE | Art lovers gaze upon Austin craft at Blue Genie Art Bazaar during their holiday market. They hold two shows during the year that allow artisans to showcase and sell their handmade work. (Katie Busby)

Mimi Sanada, the jewelry maker behind Mimi’s Origamis, also takes time to prepare for the markets where she sells her creations. These art fairs provide beneficial opportunities for Sanada to sell her handmade origami earrings.

“Typically, organizations that host markets or events provide an application, which asks for specifics about your business,” Sanada said. “There is often a booth fee, which is collected upon your approval. Details about the event are shared along with graphics on social media, and from there you can share with your audience about the event.” 

For Sanada, markets play a key role in allowing people to reach her designs, which are inspired by her Japanese culture. Her art allows her to connect with customers and sell to clientele she wouldn’t otherwise meet.

“Selling at in-person events has been crucial to my success as a business,” Sanada said. “With how saturated the internet is, it’s hard to generate traffic to my online shop alone, so having the opportunity and space for my work to be seen in person is what helps increase my sales.”

Another factor that contributes to the success of markets is the organizations hosting them. Clover + Maven is a business that hosts market events and provides female artists a space where their work is prioritized. Shelley Moon is one of the three founders of Clover + Maven and also runs an independent jewelry business called Shelley Moon Designs. 

“To host a market, it’s completely different than attending or selling,” Moon said. “You need to do a lot of research and know who your competitors are. I’ve seen so many new pop-up markets this year that I haven’t even heard of. I need to know how to attract makers and artists by defining what type of market we want to be.”

ACROSS THE CANVAS | Shoppers peruse the goods of Blue Genie Art Bazaar, taking their time looking for their art match. This market takes place Nov. 17-Dec. 24, 2023, and draws in many different products from folk art to jewelery. (Katie Busby)

While hosting a market takes a lot of time and research, the support that they can provide is very helpful to local sellers. For Moon, this creates a community that can contrast the loneliness that comes from starting your own business. 

“I don’t think there’s enough support sometimes so we’re here to provide that,” Moon said. “If you’re starting your own business, it’s a very lonely space to be if you don’t have a team to support you. You have to do everything: shipping, making, selling. To have women friends in the same boat as you is very helpful.” 

Both sides of these markets, the sellers and the hosts, make it possible for the greater Austin community to experience and own local art. With all the work that both groups put into the markets, there are benefits for everyone involved including profit, but most of all being part of a joyful community, according to Moon. 

“In my 20s and 30s, I was chasing after money and success,” Moon said. “I had both, but I was not happy. So in my 40s, I chase joy because when you chase joy, and you have found the purposes and happiness in what you are doing, money follows.”

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